July 7th, 2010
05:08 AM GMT
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(CNN) - Just six weeks after a government crackdown on protesters, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has announced a bold marketing plan to grow international arrivals in the Southeast Asian nation by 1 million next year.

The tourism authority says they hope to add $18.5 billion to the economy in 2011. Tourism in Thailand makes up over 6 percent of its gross domestic product and employs about one million Thais.

As CNN’s Dan Rivers wrote last week, the economy appears to be shrugging off the recent problems. Thailand is on course to chart 6 percent growth in gross domestic product this year.

Over the course of the protests, more than 80 people died and 1,500 others were injured in the unrest. Part of Thailand remains under emergency law, which empowers the military to take charge of security – an emergency rule that was extended for another three months in many parts of the country on Tuesday.

Analysts say that will likely keep tourists and investment dollars away. An analyst for Kasikorn Bank estimates that the political unrest could shave as much as 2 percent off the country’s total economic output if the political crisis continues.

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. David

    We were just in Bangkok twice in three weeks. There's almost no evidence of the violence that was and the proprietors we met were most happy to have tourists. We never felt any danger what so ever. No reason to stay away in my opinion...

    July 7, 2010 at 6:02 am |
  2. Greg

    It's not a good idea to quote Dan Rivers about thailand. He's already proven hes clueless and biased about the situations in thailand.

    My suggestion? rotate him to a less sensitive reporting job.


    July 7, 2010 at 6:37 am |
  3. Robert

    To answer the question: yes they will. And they will do so even faster if CNN stops broadcasting sensational visuals of old news over and over again. The tourist spots (apart from a small Bangkok area) were NEVER affected in the first place. Tourists were NEVER targeted. Thailand has so much to offer, and if the Thais finally stop shooting themselves in the foot (no pun intended) this country can finally get to its true and great tourism potential.

    To put it into perspective to a largely American audience: if you don't worry about travel to NYC or Chicago, you don't need to worry about visiting Bangkok either. For a tourist, Bangkok feels – and is – a lot safer. And friendlier. And cheaper. And more fun.

    July 7, 2010 at 7:16 am |
  4. vikrom

    Dan River should actually be here in bangkok to talk, because of his talks on behalf of cnn, i think CNN has ruined its reputation about report facts far enough....Thailand is beautiful and so far most affordable destination in ASIA with free SMILE

    July 7, 2010 at 7:20 am |
  5. richard

    TAT only wants the tourists in Thailand....they have no concern about what happens to them once they are there. It's only about the numbers. Rip-offs abound everywhere. From the moment you leave the airport and are unlikely enough to get a sleazy taxi driver....or visiting the Grand Palace and con artists tell you it's closed and they will take care of you. And be careful where you walk because sidewalks are in disrepair everywhere in BKK. They only care about the numbers! And don't fly Thai Airways – they are 2-3 times higher than the other local airlines.

    July 7, 2010 at 7:25 am |
  6. Malou

    Dear Richard,
    you seem to forget that Thailand is not as developed as the west yet...that's one of the reasons why it's so cheap. As in any country, people are trying to rip-off ignorant tourists, but who can blame them? These people are poor and they just do whatever they need to do to survive. Please do us all a favor and don't go there anymore! I absolutely love it there and I will go back as soon as possible!

    July 7, 2010 at 9:06 am |
  7. Rixardo

    Not in the near future. Thailand is still unpredictable. And besides so many other places to visit other than Thailand.

    July 7, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  8. gus

    yes i agree with all of you. i was in BKK for the last 2 years, many riots and protests happened, but none of them ever made tourists as their target. in my opinion, the only thing that keep the tourists away is the bad publication from CNN or other media, not the riot itself. i can easily understand that because by publicing this, these media will get a lot of hits and finally rating will talk...

    July 7, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  9. JMR

    Having just concluded a one-week stay I must state I saw virtually no evidence of the protests, and absolutely no evidence of the police enforcing emergency powers. Indeed the only damage I saw was to Centreworld, which caught fire, and is presently closed. It looks like any building that has smoke and fire damage.

    The Temples were packed with tourists and my hotel bustled with activity.

    July 7, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  10. Donald

    I just came back from Bangkok – it was just like normal... tourism hasn't picked up, though, unfortunately. I noticed the local people were back to their normal mood, and the economy seems to be heading back to the norms as well. My local friends told me that during the protests, only certain areas were affected, but the news focused on those areas, striking fear into the hearts of the global citizens.

    July 7, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  11. Lacey

    It's true what Richard said. You tend to get savvy to it when travelling in the third world, but Thailand is absolutely rip-off central and if the government gave a damn about the safety of tourists it would clamp down on the criminal taxi gangs everywhere you go in Bangkok.

    I spent 1 horrible day in Bangkok. Even reading all the warnings in the guidebooks wasn't enough to prepare me for it. ALL PRIVATE TRANSPORT IN BANGKOK IS RUN BY GANGS.

    All I wanted to do was get a cab downtown, & back. Simple, right? Well, when I left my hotel, I got into a cab who refused to put the meter on. So I got out, and got into another cab. Same thing. Then another... eventually, agreeing to pay the unbeleivable rip off fare for a 10 minute ride to the temple complex.

    Wasn't going to do that again, so figured I'd get a tuk tuk on the way back. Despite our insistance, he didn't take us where we wanted to go. He took us to shopping in some of the most expensive rip-off tailor shops, gold stores, etc. So eventually, we got fed up and left, got into another tuk tuk. Same story. We begged, pleaded, and eventually yelled at him just to take us to the ferry terminal, because we'd had enough. Well, he didn't get his commission from shopping, so he dumped us in a back alley full of homeless drug addicts.

    By the time we got home, I couldn't even stomach the thought of going out for dinner. I just couldn't stand to be ripped off any more.

    July 7, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  12. Tuan

    Be very careful when you go to Thailand. Especially at the airport, you all know about they put a couple of English in to jail and ask for money just because they said the camera in the airport captured English man stole things in the shop but they did not. the police just made that story and ask them for money.

    July 7, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  13. snakehead

    I completly agree with Richard. The government is only interested in Tourists money & how to rip you off. Once your money is gone, you won't be welcomed here anymore.

    July 7, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  14. V

    there is no danger in Bangkok, I just came from there after being there for 2.5 weeks. Bangkok is the same as it was, nothing is closed or lockeddown or whatever, tons of tourists (tho, maybe in other times there are even more). just a stupid article to scare people off.

    July 7, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  15. veena

    come on!! not all is hunky dory in the so called land of smiles. poltical authoritarianism, the sordid child sex, the corruption, the pollution. My husband and I have travelled many times to Thailand and up north to Chiang Mai and Rai, Phuket and BKK – last in Dec 2009 and now I am convinced I am NOT GETTING VALUE FOR MONEY. Yes beleive me. It really has becomea bit of a rip off – even if you speak a little Thai like I do.

    well in any case there will always be new opportunities for travellers Incredible INDIA or new SRI LANKA. and why not? afre all they are far better value for money. Take Sri Lanka and its east coast. absolutely pristine!! theer more out there than the traditional asian trip to Thailand. After all NYT called it the 1st among the 30 BEST and so did NatGEO. we just returned from east coast Sri Lanka TRINCOMALEE and pasikudah – it really is a SMALL MIRACLE as they say!!! except for the badly managed garbage – its was truly wonderful.

    July 7, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  16. Chris

    Been to Thailand many times but am sick of the attempts to defraud.
    The time wasting that has to go on to get the 'normal' price has become too much
    The way that the Thais treat each other as well as the unwitting tourist
    repulses me.
    The scams and the lies have gotten too much.
    I am going to spend my hard earned money elsewhere.

    July 8, 2010 at 2:48 am |
  17. Mason

    I would have to agree with David below. I have been in Thailand since March. There was protesting which further escalated but has seized for over a month now theses protest were never aimed towards foriegners to the country. Certain regions were affected by these protest. I think it is ashame that CNN is misleading the world to visit Thailand. I am an American I have been in the country for 4 months now. I have never feared for my life while I have been here. Starting to wonder is it possible to get REAL TRUTHFUL NEWS!!!!! Wait who owns this company? Rupert Murdock? I thought Ted Turner owned this company?

    July 8, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  18. David

    i have lived in Bangkok for five years and the danger is over.

    July 10, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  19. Tara

    Having family in Thailand I spend extended amounts of time there on a regular basis. Although there has been evidence of the conflicts in a few areas (mostly outside government buildings) the majority of Thailand would appear unaffected to a tourist. As for those making comments about the value of travel there, I am shocked. First, transportation is not run by gangs. It is true that they generally will charge foreigners more than they would a native Thai (although I have never heard of them taking anyone to a tourist destination against their will) however; it would not be by much. Even the comments about bargaining (also common practice in India and many other countries) should not sway anyone against visiting. We are generally talking about negotiating 50-1000 baht depending on the item, which equates to measly dollars. Your value does go along way. During my last visit to Thailand we traveled from Chiang Mai and Rai to Krabi and spent less than 500 dollars for almost 2 weeks of food, transportation and accomodations.

    July 12, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  20. Abhishek Singh

    I am for India and i have been to bangkok last year...for me it was a wonderful exprience...people were friendly... willing to help.... Affodable..... a perfect destination.... The best place was Pattaya beach.... Sexy beaches and women... people were enjoing and fullon party mood... Now i am planning to visit BKK again this August but i wonder,, will it be the same..Will Pattaya be the same dream Destnation for teenagers...Bikes and babes... i Wanna know

    July 12, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
  21. Prince

    The red shirt protest has already ended. Thailand now is in peaceful and stable situation. So we are very welcome all of you to visit Thailand especially in Bangkok.

    July 13, 2010 at 4:25 am |
  22. jeff scott

    Wow, I see comments all over the spectrum. I retired (46 years young) here in BKK in Jan 2010. Everything is safe, happy and well. As I see it, everything is on sale in Thailand. I just bought land and building a home. I am the biggest skeptic, but this place is AWESOME! Stay away visitors, the roads are dirty, uneven and crowded!

    July 13, 2010 at 10:26 am |

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